Ife Oyedeji has been elected as your new Liberation Officer for 2022/23. Ife was declared the winner after one round of voting with 481 votes. Impact caught up with Ife to ask her a few questions.
Q1: What are you most looking forward to in your role? –
Honestly? Building that sense of community on campus, especially with the Liberation Networks, I think we kind of work very separately. A lot of my campaign has been built on what Audre Lord said about ‘without community there is no liberation’. We have to appreciate the differences and understand that each community has their differences and needs but know that as people have grouped us together under umbrellas like BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic), there’s power in that.
Especially with demanding decolonisation, I think that’s a very important thing that’s unfortunately become a buzzword. I do want to make those steps that will actually tackle these problems and tear down these systems. You can’t expect people to work for a system that hasn’t supported them typically; that they don’t feel represented by.
And I want to be the person that champions that change.
Q2: What was the highlight of your campaign? –
My makeup looks! I did the whole liberation looks challenge, and that was every day for four days dedicating a look for marginalised community like a look for femme people, queer liberation, disability awareness and yesterday for the BAME internationals. I think that led a lot of people to talk to me!
Q3: Did you face any challenges when campaigning? Now campaigning is back in person, did you find it difficult to manage this alongside online campaigning? –
I’m a very social person, but it was definitely difficult speaking to marginalised students on campus who just, didn’t see a point in voting for the SU. I think a lot of the marginalised student body has given up on the University and having to convince them on the spot that I am here for them.
While trying to make those relationships with them in that moment and talking them through my plans, it was difficult hearing that from them because it almost demotivated me and made it difficult to ‘rally the troops’ so to speak.
Q5: What does Liberation Officer mean to you? Why did you choose the role? –
I’ve always been super passionate about community work, activism, and liberation work but as someone who lives at the intersections of different identities and constantly had to fight for myself and others, I found a lot of strength and community. Working to be that change has always been a passion of mine.
I wasn’t considering running for the role until I went to an event about BAME and Leadership. Talking to others, as well as the current Liberation Officer really added to my drive, because I felt like one of those people who had given up on the Student Union – I can be that change.
“I was a bit worried about slurs and hate crimes”
Q6: Congratulations again, is there anything you’d like to say to the people who voted for you? –
Thank you so much! I don’t know whether I was scared because sometimes I can come off as very passionate. I was a bit worried about slurs and hate crimes, you know, the sensitivity around the role. But I’m so grateful that people can see the passion, and how much I want to do for marginalised student bodies.
Featured image courtesy of Chiara Crompton. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In article image courtesy of Jasmin Lemarie. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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